Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Make art not war

Watercolours, pen and burning.
Art work for live session with musicians  
November, 2013.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Where are you from ?

Couple of days ago, I had gone for a gathering of friends. My friends, whom I had known for a while now, were there. So were their other friends, people who I met for the first time.

It was all going rather well, fun, banter, food and drinks, till the inevitable question caught up with me.

"Where are you from?" one of them asked.

A perfectly innocuous question. For most people.

Not for me.  As most people who have ever asked me this would attest, I do not have a simple answer for this question. My answer is usually a beating around the bush without a specific answer.

" I was born in _, but I have stayed  in _, _ and _ while growing up. I've been in _ for the last 10 years, on and off, except for 2 years in between. So yeah, pretty much from everywhere"

My usual answer; usually followed by a smile to ease the enquirer and cover up my lack of an answer.

I have tried "India", only it gets you amused looks when you say it to other Indians.

I do not prefer limiting my answer to just my place of birth. Which was much later also a place of stay, ( longest so far in any one place,but won't be after a year!) and where my parents still live . It leads to linear connections to ethnicity which do not apply.

But that is my issue. And not a trivial one at that. It is this seemingly innocuous question that threatens to unlock a Pandora's box of life long conflicts.

It is this question that exposes the vulnerability of the lack of an ethnic identity.

You may assume that ethnic identity is fairly simple.
You were born to parents belonging to a certain ethnicity.
Your official native language is this.
So you belong here.
Pat ! Simple as that !

But only it is not.

Not for someone who has lived in several places, growing up with friends from all ethnic groups [ and not in a 'token ethnic friend' sort of a way].
Not for someone who grew up learning a language other than the official native language in a way that he 'thinks' in that language [ and still cannot spell to save his life in the native language].
Not for someone who would need to fence-sit every time in a new place to be allowed into the 'local' circle.

And how do you belong, if every couple of years you leave all behind to start in a new place ?
[Until when we ended up staying in one place for fairly long because of it was no longer possible for us to move as my sister was about to finish her schooling].

This has been an issue for me. And now I've almost accepted it, my lack of ethnic identity.
Maybe in scale, it is much lesser than a similar loss of identity suffered by armed forces' children or the so called TCK- third culture kids, but it is an absence that has shaped me.

In many ways though, I do have traits that are unmistakeably from my alleged ethnic group.
But you'd be mistaken if you try to ethnic label me based on those.
Ask the people from my alleged ethnic group in Delhi, I am almost always never included when they plan a monoethnic gathering, I simply do not 'fit'.

So there, next time we meet, lets just skip that question, okay ?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tour Poster for Big Bang Blues

Tour poster and Facebook page header.

The new style as inspired by the newer and more intense sound of the band.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Gig Posters for Big Bang Blues

Some old and recent posters for the band.

The last poster ( Turquoise cottage) is the one with which I had started a new ‘clean’ look for the band’s gig posters back in 2011.

The first (Zo poster) marks the end of this clean style, as from the next poster onward, I’ll be following a new approach for the band’s posters.

Friday, 14 June 2013


We swallowed a bitter pill
Three years ago.

Aborted chimera
your echoes scar
 striae of a miscarriage.

Most healed.
Not me.
I languor still
in persistent labour.

The silence of the healed
itches like a phantom limb.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Roberto Carlos - Vector Portrait

Continuing with the theme, the fourth in the series is of Roberto Carlos - “the most offensive minded left back in the history of football”.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Ozzy Osbourne - Vector Portrait

Third in the series of vector portraits of my icons.

Presenting the Prince of Darkness.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mr. Spock / Leonard Nimoy - Vector Portrait

Continuing the series of vector portrait.

Another childhood icon. One that is truly 'fascinating'..

Friday, 17 May 2013

Bruce Lee - Vector Portrait

Starting a series on vector portraits.

The people chosen are some icons..from childhood to adolescence.
First off, is the first person ever to leave a lasting impression on my mind.

Enter the Dragon ..

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Truck again

Vector Illustration done as part of a commissioned print ad design for a transport logistics company.

First time tried a three dimensional object merged into a two dimensional background approach.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Cold Comfort

Winter, for most people, is about to end in a few days in Delhi. Winter, for me, ended two weeks ago.

For as long as I remember, I have suffered from this ‘condition’ or ‘ailment’, as most of the people view it, of not feeling cold. 
Being from a tropical country, this can be quite an ostracising ailment. Being a Bengali, this is an outrage!

For aeons the Bengalis have been afraid of the dreaded cold; the ominous cry of ‘thaanda lege jaabe’ [ you’ll catch a cold] has frozen many a Bong heart. The banner call of George R.R. Martin’s House Stark is what Bengali horror stories are made of. A Bong who does not feel cold is almost like a practical joke played upon the entire community by mischievous gods straight out of Pratchett’s world. Under these circumstances, my life has been a constant rebellion, especially during winter.

 In my childhood, this would mean a continuous resistance to parents when they wanted you to wear pullovers or jackets, because obviously according to them (and a million others), it was cold. Most of it led to feeble protests which often had little or no effect. We would reach compromises such as Okay no monkey-cap but you must put-on this sweater. This helped little, for I would continue to swelter inside winter clothes that, for others were deemed necessary, and almost live-saving if you were a Bengali. Finally, deliverance came one day when a combination of thermal innerwear, a full sleeved shirt and a half sleeved pullover at 3˚C caused me to nosebleed! My rebellion had now turned bloody! After that my parents pretty much left me be, and like all parents accepted the hand of fate in having a natural aberration in the family. Grudgingly, with time, so did my extended family of aunts and uncles, but not before I had become an adjective to define an unruly kid who resists winter clothes

But my troubles were far from over.

Soon I was thrust unrelentingly into a cold world full of warm people! Friends, acquaintances and complete strangers – all of whom, at some point, questioned my ‘ailment’.

Let me, first, in my defence, say that it is not that I do not feel cold at all. It is merely that my tolerance to low temperatures is more than the average tropical person. So I am perfectly comfortable in temperatures of 9-10˚C, without wind-chill, in a T-shirt. Till about -4˚C (from personal experience) in just a jacket over a T-shirt. With wind-chill, I am comfy in two-layers of clothing in the upper body till 2˚C. And never have I worn leggings of any kind in the temperatures I have faced so far up to -4˚C.
Also, the tips of my fingers and nose tend to turn cold to touch, without me losing any sensation or feeling cold, at much higher temperatures. At times, especially when stepping from an inside environment to outside, I do tend to shiver for a few minutes till my body reaches a sort of ‘thermal balance’, where after I am fine. I do enjoy sleeping under quilts and blankets during the winter and warm showers – both of which I can do without and have done without.

Unfortunately though, many times these would be brought up as ‘proof’. Many an associate, who claimed I make them feel cold by not wearing requisite winter wear, or not, have at times ‘caught’ me shivering or taking a warm bath and gleefully presented it as proof that I’d been faking it all along, and that I do feel cold. Well, what can I say?

I have endured disapproving looks from complete strangers for moving around in summer wear, while they struggle with their jackets and mufflers. I have been subjected to disbelief when taking early morning cold water showers in 3˚C. I’ve been dismissed as a lost cause.

Most endearing, however, was once, when cavorting around the all-Bong heartland of Delhi in shorts and t-shirt, a group of balaclava-wearing elders sitting around a fire, declared me as ‘mad’. Only to be dismissed by one of the group as a proof of the degradation of traditional values due to western influences. 

I have tried seeking answers for my ‘ailment’ to no avail. Numerous forums and internet searches only revealed insights that apply to specific genetic pools. Science has answers to increased cold tolerance of Eskimos, Nordic men and South Korean deep sea divers, even to certain aboriginal Australians, but draws a blank when the genetic pool says Bengali. 

So here I am, an aberration among my people, waiting for science to provide some answers and forever dodging winter wear.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Book Cover - initial attempts

Starting options for a book cover of a book written by a friend. One of my most difficult attempts so far due to the topic of the book.

The final cover was designed by the publisher’s in house design cell.

You can find the book here .